Thailand is an all-new Marketplace for this year’s Festival.
It’s not a major departure from items that we’ve seen elsewhere in the past, but it’s nice to see peanut sauce, curry, and spice under one roof.
Up front are the three food items – the beef on the left followed by the chicken and the shrimp cake.
Marinated Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Stir-fried Vegetables – $4.75
This is a straightforward, satisfying dish with a lot of juicy, nicely-marinated chicken with just the right amount of flavorful, mildly spicy peanut sauce spooned on top. I appreciated the fact that it was mostly chicken – easily five times as much meat than we saw at Farm Fresh for the same money. But the carrots, peppers, and other vegetables that are present offer a nice crunch and create a slightly different flavor profile than the saltier chicken. It’s a large portion of tasty food that isn’t going to be too “out there” for most people.
Seared Shrimp and Scallop Cake with Cold Noodle Salad – $5
This looks the part, but the shrimp cake lacked flavor on its own and could have used a more robust sauce – something spicy and orange perhaps. I liked the side of noodles, which were refreshing in the heat and had a little bit of a spicy quality to them, in addition to the crunch from a couple of bites of vegetable. It wasn’t “bad” by any means, but there are more flavorful items all over.
Red Hot Spicy Thai Curry Beef with Steamed Rice – $5.50
I’m not sure that there’s ever been an instance when something that Disney describes as “spicy” has offered a real kick and we’re not starting that tradition here, even if Disney doubles down with “RED HOT” at the start of the description. With that said, there is a tinge of peppery spice in the sauce, which is then tempered quite a bit by coconut. Otherwise, cauliflower and green onion dominated our portion, though there’s several bites of stringy beef mixed in on top of the white rice. I appreciated the fact that the rice did a nice job of soaking up all of the flavors without ever becoming clumpy. Overall, the dish is pretty average for the Festival and is worth trying if you’re trying to get into spicy food without leaving your comfort zone. I would have liked to have seen Disney take it a little further.
Helfrich Gewürztraminer – $5
Store Price: 50 cents/ounce
Festival Price: $2.50/ounce
Value: Below average
This mildly sweet, easy-drinking wine is a nice accompaniment to the chicken in particular with a flowery, fruity flavor.
Singha Lager – $4
Store Price: 15 cents/ounce
Festival Price: 67 cents/ounce
Value: Below average
Singha is a very drinkable lager that, along with Tiger Beer, is ubiquitous in most Thai restaurants around the United States. It has a malty, sweet character that helps cut the spiciness that may or may not be present here in the dishes at the Food and Wine Festival. It’s not going to impress the snobs, but it’s also not Tsingtao, which might be a good compromise.